If there was ever a good place to be a movie location scout, it would be the UK. Seriously, the possibilities are endless here. Crumbling fairytale castles – check. Windswept cliffs beside the sea – check. Famous monuments easily recognized by everyone on the planet – check. Charming villages in the countryside – triple check. (I mean, have you seen the Cotswolds?)
Given how much of the UK is inherently “camera-ready,” it’s no wonder that the majority of the eight Harry Potter films were shot outside of the studio. From the highlands of Scotland to the universities of Oxford and all the small villages in between, there are several Harry Potter filming locations to be explored around the United Kingdom.
While touring Stonehenge and Avebury for the day, we decided to make a special detour in neighbouring Lacock to see the village whose streets and sights were featured in at least three of the Harry Potter films. We immediately realised that, while Lacock appears to have been designed with the film industry in mind, there is more to this welcoming small town than its gorgeous facade.
Visiting Lacock, England
From its storybook streets with a seemingly endless supply of picturesque English cottages to the beautiful historic abbey that sits on the outskirts of town, it’s not hard to see why Lacock has been used in the filming of so many movies, Harry Potter included.
Unexpectedly well-preserved for its age, Lacock played a pivotal role in England’s wool trade during the Middle Ages. These days, the majority of the village is owned by the National Trust to ensure it retains its classic English charm for generations to come.
Lacock’s most visited historic attraction is Lacock Abbey, but the town also has a 14th century church (St Cyriac’s) worth popping into, and an old tithe barn built around the same time, both of which are free to enter.
History and half-timbered cottages aside, I believe my favorite part about visiting this town was being able to spend time in a place that appears fairly unaffected by tourism, despite its popularity with tourists. By that I mean, chain restaurants and souvenir shops haven’t entirely taken over, and meringues, jellies, and various other handmade goods are still sold via the honor system outside of people’s homes – just take whatever you like and leave money in the box, simple as that.
On the day we visited, Lacock’s Boy Scouts were holding a fundraiser at the community center and we were kindly invited in for sausage and egg sandwiches and friendly conversation. The whole village had such a warm and homey atmosphere, I just couldn’t help but fall in love with it.
But you came here to hear about Harry Potter in Lacock, so let’s move on before I spend another two paragraphs gushing about how lovely this town is.
Harry Potter Filming Locations in Lacock
The Town of Budleigh Babberton
Wandering the main streets of Lacock, you’ll likely recognize them as one and the same as those making up the town of Budleigh Babberton in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Quick glimpses of Lacock’s streets are shown as Harry and Dumbledore make their way to and from the temporary home of Horace Slughorn at the beginning of the movie. A few other sights in town will look very familiar to fans as well…
The Home of Lily and James Potter
Located on Church Street, this lovely cottage stood in for the home of Lily and James Potter in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It features in the flashback scenes of the night Voldemort arrived in Godric’s Hollow and murdered Harry’s parents. Obviously, this place looks far more cheerful in real life than it appears in the movie, so you’ll have to try extra hard to imagine the menacing, cloaked figure of Voldemort opening the cottage’s wooden gate and making his way up to the house while you’re here.
Fun Fact: In later movies, an entirely different cottage was used for the Potters’ home in Godric’s Hollow. You’ll be able to see it in the backlot of the Warner Bros. Studio in London when you reserve a spot on The Making of Harry Potter tour.
Horace Slughorn’s Hideout
At the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Horace Slughorn is temporarily holed up in a home belonging to some unnamed muggles away on holiday in the town of Budleigh Babberton. The real-life counterpart to Slughorn’s hideout can be found on Chapel Hill in the center of Lacock. Just like with the Potters’ house, you’ll have to use your imagination to see it as gloomy as it appears in the movie, though, because it’s actually quite a beautiful home.
Sidenote: Dumbledore introducing Harry to Slughorn is one of my favorite scenes from this movie. I always find it so satisfying to watch Dumblebore put the house back together after Slughorn destroys it to keep the Death Eaters from discovering him. Anyone else love that part, too?
Lacock Abbey, aka Hogwarts
Lacock Abbey is one of many places across the UK whose rooms were used for scenes taking place inside the beloved Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Featuring primarily in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, visitors are allowed inside the abbey, but it’ll cost you a few galleons. (Tickets are available for purchase from the National Trust website here.)
Inside, several of Lacock Abbey’s rooms with high, sweeping ceilings and mysterious corners served as Hogwarts classrooms, including Professor Snape’s Potions classroom and Professor Quirrell’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class. The abbey’s elegant cloisters were transformed into corridors at Hogwarts for both of the first two movies as well, and if you drop by the Chapter House, you’ll recognize the room where Harry stumbled upon the Mirror of Erised for the first time.
Quintessential English village, small town vibes, and a handful of Harry Potter locations to discover – Lacock makes an excellent pit stop on a day trip from London. Have you ever traveled somewhere simply to see where one of your favorite movies was filmed?
Read also: A Trip to Coquet Island – Travel Guide
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to pay to visit Lacock village?
Lacock is off the regular tourist path, and it’s all the better for it. For much of the year, there will only be a few guests in the village to keep you company. It’s worth your time to go around Lacock for free. You must pay to enter the Abbey, and it would take at least three hours to see all of the attractions. It’s a lovely village to move around. On weekends and nice summer days, folks will come here to get away from the house and enjoy a leisurely bite to eat. At certain times, it may get extremely packed.
Where is Lacock Abbey?
Lacock Abbey is located in the same-named village of Chippenham in Wiltshire, around 16 miles from Toghill House Farm. Lacock is around 40 minutes away from our guest accommodation. Simply enter the postcode SN15 2LG into your GPS. The shortest journey from Bath is to take the A4 London Road to the Chequers Roundabout, then take the fourth leave onto the A350 and follow the instructions.
It was founded as an Abbey in the 13th century, but it was taken over by Henry VIII, sold, and transformed into a home in 1539. From the 13th of March until the 31st of October, the inside of the home can be visited on any day except Monday. Visitors to Lacock may also view the 14th-century St Cyriac’s Church and the famous 14th-century tithe barn. Both are Grade I listed structures.
The Sign of the Angel and The Red Lion are two excellent places to stay. There is no finer place in the hamlet for afternoon tea than King John’s Hunting Lodge, the area’s oldest structure.
Where is the Harry Potter house in London?
J.K. Rowling portrays the property as being in London’s Islington district, just a short walk up from King’s Cross Station (which has Platform 9 3/4). No. 23–29 Claremont Square, also known as No. 12 Grimmauld Place, is located in Islington. It is the home of Sirius Black’s family in the Harry Potter films and is located in one of London’s most popular districts.
What train station was in Harry Potter?
Harry and his buddies arrive at the station by rushing through a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. Platform 9 3/4 was shot on platforms 4 and 5 of London’s King’s Cross station. The stunning exterior images were taken at St Pancras Station, while the bridge that Harry and Hagrid cross at Kings Cross was actually shot at York railway station.
Due to popular demand, station managers at King’s Cross Station agreed to install a Platform 9 334 sign in honour of J.K. Rowling’s successful books, and since then, Harry Potter fans from all over the globe have flocked to the station to take photos of the renowned platform sign.
How much does the Harry Potter tour cost in London?
Tickets for a family of four cost us £150. (thankfully smallest child is still free). We’ve been on a number of family outings, and this was the most costly single day out we’ve ever had. Because this location is unique, it is impossible to discover something equivalent. To put things into perspective, Legoland and Thorpe Park are both rather inexpensive, but there are frequently deals of some sort available. A family ticket to Madame Tussauds costs £92; Paulton’s Park costs £118; and Willows Activity Farm costs £82. (peak prices). So, is it really worth it?
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Hello, I’m Hannah! I’ve been slowly traveling around the world for four years. I hope my stories and tips will inspire you to do it too